Just about everyone who is involved with
civic activities in New Castle County turned out to begin the
process of drafting what will be, depending upon how you define
things, an updated, revised or new county comprehensive plan. If
the interest holds and the process goes as planned, the
direction that growth takes in the next seven years and beyond
will be largely charted by a cross-section of people and
requires that all political subdivisions have plans and that
they be reviewed and, as necessary, modified every five years.
New Castle County's modifications are due in 2007. Although the
law also requires citizen participation, the extent to which
that makes a difference can vary widely.
Chris Coons has directed that that be to the maximum extent
possible. He and his administration want to make sure the final
product "effectively reflects all the needs and concerns in our
county," he told about 125 attenders at the dinner meeting in
the new Rockwood Mansion Park visitors and conference center
people feel they don't have a voice in the process," said Paul
Clark, president of County Council. As a result, "no one is
happy with the land use process."
concerns obviously differ widely among, say, folks who live
Claymont, Pike Creek and Middletown. They will be aired, debated
and, the more optimistic among us think, resolved in a series of
monthly meetings of four subcommittees. If. as the more
realistic expect, consensus doesn't happen, land use general
manager Charles Baker said the subcommittees will be expected to
produce majority and minority reports.
Areas to be addressed are: future land use,
infrastructure and services, community character, and the
development and building review.
to read the previous Delaforum article.
To illustrate the kinds of issues with
which the subcommittees will have to deal, consider just one set
of data from Baker's talk. The Delaware Population Consortium,
he said, expects that, by 2030, the county will have 79,000 more
people in 41,000 new households. But between now and then there
will be only 9,000 new jobs generated. Right now, he said, the
county has about 141,900 residentially zoned acres, out of a
total of 218,700 acres, undeveloped. The situation is tighter
with commercially zoned land. There are only 12,700 of a total
of 34,000 undeveloped.
The discussion going forward will be
interesting. As Coons put it: "Land use is one thing we do to
keep people excited."
Proposing to engage a consultant to study
special education in the
Brandywine School District was favorably received by the school
board, but hiring an administrator to oversee that area
An effort is underway to further encourage
redevelopment of unused or underused properties through another
modification of the county's Unified Development Code.
Waste Management has a painless way of dealing
with rising fuel costs: Tack a $6.44 "fuel/environmental charge"
onto the regular trash-collection rate. It makes no sense to
charge an increased cost of doing business against the bottom
line when it can be otherwise absorbed without raising prices.